College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
The Journeys to Graduation from the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between CityU and Columbia University

Warmest congratulations to Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences students Karlton CHAN Ka-tung (Psychology), Jiayun GUO (Psychology) and Yanming KUANG (Applied Sociology), for graduating from the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University this year !

Witnessing their graduation at Columbia’s School of General Studies’ Class Day on 20 May 2019 was Professor Hon S CHAN, Associate Dean (Internationalisation and Outreach) of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS). Professor CHAN was very impressed with the students’ accomplishments and positive attitude: “We work towards offering students as many opportunities as possible to spend time abroad, so as to broaden their horizon and let them gain an understanding of an increasingly globalised world. But it is up to the students to seize these opportunities to achieve personal and professional growth. Karlton, Jiayun and Yanming all did very well in this regard.”

Joining the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program and studying in New York City means stepping out of the comfort zone. What drove Karlton, Jiayun and Yanming to choose the Joint Program was the dream to explore the Big Apple and enjoy the academic excellence of Columbia University! But such a fancy could end up in frustration for many youngsters, especially when everything was so unfamiliar. “There are numerous times when I question myself the decision of coming here because of the cultural differences,” admitted Karlton. “My ways to overcome cultural barriers are to stay curious, be humble, and have an open mind.” They were very grateful for the supportive faculty and staff, and their fellow schoolmates who had helped them adapt to the new environment smoothly. At times it could be overwhelming when academic stress set in. “We have to read at least 100-200 pages of readings for each class at Columbia a week. It was a hell of the first semester for me,” said Yanming. “But it turns out to be very rewarding, because I have learnt so much by the end of the semester. I will miss all the all-nighters at Butler (library).”

The difficulties and challenges were not the only thing to be remembered. They had their School of General Studies (GS) stories to tell. Jiayun found the mix of students from all walks of life the most interesting. “Encountering with other students allows me to appreciate how different people pursue their goals and dreams regardless of their past, age, and obstacles.” Besides putting every effort in schoolwork, she also took a film photography class at Columbia and indulged in a hobby that let her meet more people and even get acquainted with local artists. For Yanming and Karlton, the most memorable moments were also the time with buddies: Yanming spent many Friday evenings with his friends reading literature works by Hemingway, Tolstoy, Eileen Chang and others; Karlton was emotional as she saw her friends on stage at the graduation ceremony of Class Day 2017 in which she was a Junior Marshal. Karlton was selected as one of the Senior Marshals this year to lead the graduating class to the ceremony event.

Jiayun and Yanming are going to continue their studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Indiana University - Bloomington respectively, while Karlton is now working in the US.

“Embrace your life and be proactive to seek for different opportunities.” Karlton, Jiayun and Yanming sent their best wishes to the incoming CLASS students who would embark their new journeys at Columbia University in the Fall semester.

Cover: Karlton CHAN Ka-tung (left), Jiayun GUO (right) and Yanming KUANG (second from left) shared the joy with Associate Dean (Internationalisation and Outreach) Professor Hon S CHAN on the Class Day.

Photo 2: Jiayun took a seminar at the Toddler Center during her study and became interested in child development. After completing the Program, she worked as an assistant teacher in a Montessori preschool and is going to study at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Photo 3: School of General Studies is known for its diversity of students that come from all over the world. Meeting people from different backgrounds has enriched Jiayun’s life in the US.

Photo 4: Karlton joined her fellow GS students for an apple picking trip to upstate New York.

Photo 5: Karlton at Butler, the main library on Columbia University campus

Photo 6: Yanming will pursue a PhD degree in sociology at Indiana University - Bloomington with focus on race, ethnicity, and immigration studies.